The lineups perpetually blocking the sidewalk in front of this Guu offshot attest to the quality of this uncharacteristically complex pork-based broth. Perfectly chewy house-made noodles and unorthodox toppings like blowtorched pork belly, grated Swiss cheese and raw garlic only up the ante.
Sunday to Thursday 11:30 am to 10:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am to 11:30 pm (Baldwin); Sunday to Thursday 11:30 am to 10:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am to 2 am (Bloor). Closed some holidays. No reservations. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement.
While dinner upstairs at Daisho or Shoto runs well into the high three figures, dining in New York celebu-chef David Chang's entry-level noodle noshery can be done for practically peanuts, and never more so than during Winterlicious, through February 13, when a signature steamed bao, a bowl of smoked local chicken ramen and a Milk Bar compost cookie go for all of 15 bucks at lunch.
Lunch daily 11:30 am to 3 pm, dinner nightly 5 to 11 pm. Closed some holidays. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: barrier-free.
3) Santouka 91 Dundas E, at Church, 647-748-1717, santouka.co.jp/en
You'll likely wait longer in line at peak feeding times for a seat at one of this Hokkaido-based import's long communal tables than it takes to actually eat, so speedy the kitchen. Resist the rush and zone out Zen-like over bowls of al dente mein in gorgeous broth optionally reduced in salt and fat - a rarity.
Daily 11 am to 11 pm. No reservations. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement, communal seating.
4) Kenzo Ramen 138 Dundas W, at Elizabeth, 416-205-1155; 522 Yonge, at Maitland, 647-340-2112; 372 Bloor W, at Walmer, 416-921-6787; 4860 Yonge, at Elmhurst, 647-345-1871; 4860 Yonge, at Elmhurst, 647-345-1871; 720 Burnamthorpe, at Mavis, 905-766-4136, kenzoramen.ca
Like virtually everything else incredibly cool, Toronto has had Japanese noodle houses since the 80s. Konnichiwa, anyone? But it was only after this North York Japorean noodle joint reinvented itself downtown five years ago that the local ramen bar was raised. We blame the creamy tonkotsu, an outrageously rich soup that's been likened to liquefied pork chops.
Daily 11 am to 10 pm. Closed Sunday, holidays (Burnhamthorpe). No reservations. Licensed.
Though it doesn't look that different from almost every other ramen house in town - cramped seating, frenzied staff and a constant queue out the door - this no-frills noshery is the only one that features chicken-based broths instead of the usual pork, the secret weapon schmaltz (aka chicken fat). Keep this in mind the next time you come down with a cold or the flu. Touhenboku does takeout!
Daily 11 am to midnight. No reservations. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free.